Composition of the Books of Kings


POSTED 23 OCTOBER, 2017

Approximate date: before 562 B.C.E. (Right; some conservative-moderate; some Left); mid-to-late 500s B.C.E. (some conservative-moderate; some Left)

Time period: Solomon’s reign, the division of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, and their judgment and dispersion

Author: Jeremiah (Right); Israel’s court historians and further editors (some conservative-moderate); an unidentified prophet or an unknown exile from the Southern Kingdom (some conservative-moderate; Left)

Location of author: Land of Israel (Right, some conservative-moderate); Jerusalem, Babylon, and/or Land of Israel (some conservative-moderate, Left)

Target audience and their location: people of Israel during the Divided monarchy (Right, conservative-moderate); Jewish religious leaders during the reign of King Josiah and/or Jewish exiles living in Babylon or returning from Babylon (Left)

Theological Summary: In the division of the Hebrew Bible, the Books of Kings (Heb. melakim) are simply a single book. The division into two texts came via the production of the Septuagint in the Second Century B.C.E., with what we know today as 1&2 Kings originally being designated as 3&4 Kings. When the designation of the first two books as 1&2 Samuel came, the latter two books became listed as 1&2 Kings. This division was followed by Jerome’s Latin Vulgate and was slowly adapted over time by Jewish Bibles as a matter of convenience.

The Jewish theological tradition places 1&2 Kings among the Former Prophets, something to seriously be considered by any reader of the text because of the significant number of prophets listed in its account. Christian tradition places 1&2 Kings among the Historical Books. While 1&2 Kings surely contain Biblical history, these books take on a distinctly prophetic character in light of their content and warnings.

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Books_of_Kings

reproduced from A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic

One of the major reasons that today’s Messianic movement has grown in the past decade is a significant interest by Believers in the Torah and the Tanach. In too many cases, the Tanach Scriptures were not probed in that great a detail in a Jewish Believer’s traditional Synagogue upbringing—and perhaps more serious, a non-Jewish Believer’s Christian experience often witnessed the Old Testament taking a back seat to the New Testament in the Church. With many of the ethical and moral controversies the greater Judeo-Christian religious community is experiencing in our age, a need for God’s people to return to a foundational grounding in the Tanach Scriptures is absolutely imperative. The Old Testament cannot simply be disregarded any more.

Many have stayed away from consulting the Tanach not because of a lack of interest, but because few want to have to deal with the controversies it addresses. Unlike the Apostolic Scriptures, constrained to the First Century C.E., the period of the Tanach stretches back all the way to the beginning of the universe itself. Questions like: Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Did God actually condone the genocide of the Canaanites? and Am I the only one who thinks the Prophets are mentally disturbed? are debates that many people do not want to enter into. Even more significant is the effect of critical scholarship which has attempted to divide the Torah into non-Mosaic sources, question the inspiration and historical reliability of the text, and even regard much of the Tanach as Ancient Israel’s mythology. For a Messianic movement that claims to place a high value on the Tanach, it is time that we join in to these conversations.

A Survey of the Tanach for the Practical Messianic takes you through the Old Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. It presents a theologically conservative perspective of the books of the Tanach, but one that does not avoid some of the controversies that have existed in Biblical scholarship for over one hundred and fifty years. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Tanach, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the Old Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.

290 pages